Friday, March 18, 2005

Corruption Hearings Across the Universe

Back in the Spaceship.

This far out in my journey through the universe I'm getting mixed satellite signals on my craft's television set-- receiving simultaneously the baseball hearings back on Earth, and the literary corruption hearings on Zytron, where I'm headed. The broadcast has been switching planets in mid-sentence, which is confusing.

Is that Mark McGwire or Dave Eggers abjectly crying in front of the world (nay, the universe) while proclaiming the good his foundation does for children-- how many tax-deductible millions it spends? Which of these two stars is throwing himself on the mercy of the panel, tears streaming down his face, quavering, "I'm only an orphan!"

I'm seeing pitcher Curt Schilling, who once called steroid use in baseball "rampant," now taking back what he said, while Media Bistro's Galley Cat insists she never did think Tom Bissell's "borrowing" looked wrong. Sammy Sosa's lawyer states, "My client did not use illegal steroids!" (only the kind that weren't banned yet), as Roger "the Dodger" Hodge defends Harper's by arguing that, technically, legally, the magazine did not cross the line into plagiarism. Sosa's lawyer then adds, "He did not inject needles!" (tablet form only). The images jump back and forth-- embarrassing spectacles at both ends of the galaxy.

The players on both planets are stonewalling. Both sets of politician committee members are fawning. Panel Chair Maud Newton tells Dave Eggers she still has his rookie baseball card-- and will never sell it!

Meanwhile hapless whistle-blower "axe-to-grind" Jose Canseco is befuddled. Masters of misdirection castigate Jose to avoid the fact of his truth-telling. The players are outraged not at the cheating, but that it was found out. Someone talked!

SUCCESS THROUGH CHEATING: this should be up on large banners at both hearings. Players are desperately trying to save their corrupt little worlds, which have been corrupt for more than a decade. "We're the good guys!" they shout while passing grant money back and forth or injecting one another with needles in the buttocks, continuing trying to scam their gullible publics to keep the charades going.

Slick and shady Lewis Lapham takes the Fifth. Jeff Tietz is silent. Fake-intellectual Tom Bissell parses sentences and rationalizes. Rick Moody grins like Benji the Idiot. Frozen-faced Jonathan Franzen speaks through an interpreter: "I did not break any laws of the Dominican Republic." One after another, a slithering parade of the debased, the despicable, and the spineless.

As I look for my remote clicker to see what's being shown on the 30,000 other inhabited planets, Committee Chair Maud has her baseball card collection on full display. She begs for autographs and tries to get photos of herself with the shame-faced players.

Can't we finally admit the truth?

Can't we just SAY that these players are a discredit to the games of baseball and literature?


Anonymous said...

Running with the baseball thing, this steroid mess is largely the fault of Major League Baseball itself >>> pussy leadership at the top. MLB hasn't had a decent commissioner in at least 15 years.

Canseco is no heroic whistle-blower. In my opinion he's a sleazy dude who only wrote the Juiced book because he's broke and seeking the spotlight again. It's obvious that he could care less about the integrity of the game, or he wouldn't have taken so many steroids himself. Apparently his training routine was: take the needle and skip the gym!

Now that the "House Committee on Government Reform" (huh-huh) is involved in this, it's likely to turn into a nonsensical witch-hunt.

How do we choose which heroes to throw in the trash bin? If someone used steroids experimentally in the 80s, is his whole career down the toilet?

Performance-enhancing drugs shouldn't have a place in sports, but media/political sensationalism spurred by a tell-all book from a discredible source is no way to fix the problem. Why don't we bring back Joe McCarthy while we're at it? Or call Sammy the Bull Gravano as a star witness.

Baseball needed to lay the smack down on steroids years ago. You can bet Mr. Reactionary Bud Selig will do it now, after he's been sitting on his ass for years, sticking pins into a voodoo doll of Pete Rose and making stupid rules for the all-star game.

-Pat Simonelli

Tim Hall said...


Good news! My sources tell me that Columbia, Iowa, Princeton, and a bunch of other Luxury Consumer Education™ Enterprises are considering offering MPS degrees-Masters of Professional Sports- that will offer would-be pro ballplayers such valuable courses as "Steroid Use: Cheating, or Adumbration of Phenomenological Post-Biological Think Spaces in the Physical Realms" and other such gripping content. Degrees start at $1.5 million; candidates must be recommended by a major baseball player who has won either the MVP or Cy Young within the past decade. Stay tuned!!!

Tim Hall

Noah Cicero said...

Doesn't steroids cause a man's gentiles to shrink and become useless. That sounds like a horrible drug.
Reading Dave Eggers caused a man's gentiles to shrink and become useless. After reading How we are Hungry I couldn't get hard for a week, if I read Staggering I know my dick would have shrivaled up and died, and if I read Velocity my dick would have just rot off and fell on the floor.

Adam Hardin said...

The In-breeding Continues:

Philip Gourevitch has been named the Editor-in-Chief of the Paris Review. Philip has a M.F.A. from Columbia University in fiction.

Professor Richard Howard of Columbia is the Poetry Editor, so you can imagine how happy the Columbia Grads must be, both poetry and fiction.

This does not bode well for Iowa. In recent years many of the fiction prizes, and publication of fiction by Iowa grads largely outweighed Columbia in the Paris Review, but now that will surely change.

King Wenclas said...

Baseball pays a price for their anti-trust status.
Re: McGwire. There's a saying to the effect that who the gods raise up they also bring down. Call it karma. Or balance in the universe.

Tim Hall said...

Noah: "Doesn't steroids cause a man's gentiles to shrink"

Are you saying steroids are a jewish plot to destroy the goyim? Answer for yourself!

(Seriously, that's the funniest typo I think I've ever read!)


- Leopold said...

You know, I heard that a secret band of Zionist fanaticals were developing a gigantic space oriented testicle-shrink ray. But I thought it was only a rumor until now... Maybe the ULA should change direction to fight this menace!

I once uncovered a typo of my own during a sex scene where the woman was, literally, sliding the man's nipples up onto his shoulders.

Noah Cicero said...

I always spell genitals gentiles for some absurd reason.
I apologize to Jewish people and gentiles who have may been offended by my typo. I do not think jewish people are trying to shrink gentile's genitals.

Anonymous said...

Baseball is a protected monopoly. Kind of like the lit-world through things like the National Book Awards, which couldn't exist without the government's 501c3 law.
Canseco is a stooge, but he's so transparent in his constant scamming that he's almost likable. The Lee Klein of the baseball world.
Did anyone read Michael Chabon's gushy paean to him in the NY Times a couple days ago?
Everyone tells me that Chabon is the one lit-Insider that's actually good-- I don't buy it myself. Maybe I should read more of his stuff. (No doubt he's better than one-trick-pony Eggers.)
What I was doing with this post of course was try to draw parallels to the lit world.
What surprises me is the way a supposedly sharp guy like Dave Eggers embraces Moody and Bissell-- both of whom are unredeemably corrupt. (The clue to understanding Bissell is not his shoddy profile on the ULA, or his plagiarism-- laziness at best-- but at the way he's ingratiated himself with key lit-establishment Insiders like Birkerts-- himself a noted ass-kisser when he was young-- and Jonathan Franzen, but also Dave Eggers himself. But ALSO Bissell's hatchet job on his own father, in Harper's a few months ago, written merely to please Lord Lapham and justify the Dem candidate, says a lot about his lack of scruples.)
Finally, underestimating opponents by dismissing them as "crazy" isn't an intelligent move.